Monday, December 26, 2011

Game of the Day - Varth: Operation Thunderstorm

Nice name... Some made-up word that sounds like you are puking followed by a bunch of stuff to try to make it sound cooler.

But don't be alarmed, Varth is a nice vert shooter.   In the same mold as the 194? series, Varth is an airplane/military shooter with a little bit of a steampunk type art theme.  At the beginning, you select what type of "pods" you are going to use.  Pods are the little spheres that fly with you and act like shields with remote weaponry.  You can choose the pods that always stay in front of you - thus blocking most direct incoming enemy fire, or those that circle around you, trying to stop everything, but occasionally not there in front when you need them.  I usually choose the ones that are fixed in front.  The strange thing about choosing the pod type before you start is don't start with any pods!!!!  You only get pods when you get certain types of power-ups.  Then the pods appear.  So don't think there is something wrong with the game (like I did) when you first start out and the pods you chose are not there.

There are three types of normal weapons and three types of pod weapons.  All fire with the first button.  As usual, the second button is a bomb, and the bomb type is based on what conventional weapon/power-up you are currently sporting.

The bomb acquisition is a little diff in Varth.  Rather than gobble them up like other power-ups, the number of bombs simply increases based on a timer bar located in the lower left of the screen adjacent to where they show how many bombs you currently have.  Once the bar fills up (and it simply advances constantly with time), you get another bomb and it starts over again.  So, you can always see how long 'til you get another.  It's kind of like Dorothy keeping an eye on the hour glass in WizOz.

Also, just like the game Double Wings (GOTD from a few days ago), your score gets incremented by 1 point each time you continue.  Thus, just by looking at someone's score (the last digit), you can tell how many continues they used to achieve it - it's a very cool feature, especially in the MAME world of infinite free continues.

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